Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia – Wildest Word of the Day

Flickr photo by Jayel Aheram

Flickr photo by Jayel Aheram

Also known as “Brain Freeze” (a term first used in published form in 1991), sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is the scientific term meaning nerve pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion.

According to Wikipedia, this is considered a misnomer because the pain is actually thought to be caused by the trigeminal nerves. The rapid cooling of the blood vessels in the sinuses causes the trigeminal nerves to react and send signals to the brain indicating that the pain is coming from the forehead, which in turn causes “ice cream headache” or brain freeze. This same mechanism is thought to cause the “auras” associated with migraines.

I occasionally get migraines with aura, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had a good brain freeze. I’ll have to head over to the local 7-Eleven and suck down a Slurpee on the next hot July day and see what happens. I can’t wait to see the look on the clerk’s face when I grab my forehead in pain and yell, “Help, I’m having an attack of sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia!”

Let me know in the comments about your favorite brain freeze incident. I’m sure there are some pretty wild stories out there.

Soccer – Wildest Word of the Day

With all this talk of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, I started thinking about the origin of the word “soccer”. A lot of countries other than ours call it “football”. We’re often made to feel bad and wrong for calling it soccer. But where did the word come from and which one is more “correct”?

I did a bit of searching around on the internet and found a lot of different sources by Daven Hiskey wrote a great article called “The Origin of the Word ‘Soccer'” that is one of the best.

According to Hiskey, the word “soccer” preceded the word “football” by about eighteen years.

Apparently the word soccer came about because British school boys had a habit of  speaking in slang by adding-er to the ends of shortened forms of the words. Thus, rugby became “rugger” and Associated Football, the original name for the sport became known as “assoccer” which was shortened even further to “soccer.” Legend has it that the first use of the term came from the Oxfordian (Oxer?) Charles Wredford-Brown who was asked if he’d like to play a game of “rugger” and he replied that he preferred to play “soccer.” This supposedly happened right around 1863, shortly after the creation of Associated Football. It was considered a sport for gentlemen and played by the upper classes but quickly became popular with the middle and lower classes as well. When this happened, around 1881, everyone shortened the name from Associated Football to just football.

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Charles Wreford-Brown from Myfootballfacts.com

Honorificabilitudinitatibus – Wildest Word of the Day

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James Joyce by Paul Jenny

In honor of Bloomsday, I wanted to include this monstrous vocable. According to Wikipedia, honorificabilitudinitatibus is the “dative and ablative plural of the medieval Latin word honorificabilitudinitas, which can be translated as, ‘the state of being able to achieve honors.'” It’s the longest word in the English language featuring only alternating consonants and vowels.

This is how Joyce uses the word in Ulysses:

“Like John o’Gaunt his name is dear to him, as dear as the coat and crest he toadied for, on a bend sable a spear or steeled argent, honorificabilitudinitatibus, dearer than his glory of greatest shakescene in the country.”

Shakespeare used this word in Love’s Labors Lost in Act V, Scene 4 of the play. Costard, a comic rustic, says of the pedants, Holofernes and Sir Nathaniel, “O, they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon.” (Flap-dragon was a game of eating hot raisins from a bowl of burning brandy.)

Essentially, the word means, “with honorableness” according to Pinky and the Brain’s 1995 episode “Napoleon Bonaparte” (Season 1, Episode 11). If you learn this one, you’ll never sound like you belong in a coterie of pre-verbal neonates.

Happy Bloomsday!

Brontide – Wildest Word of the Day

Flickr photo by N. Tackaberry

(Credit: Flickr photo by N. Tackaberry)

A brontide is a low rumbling sound like thunder thought to be caused by feeble earth tremors (Merriam-Webster). I also like the way the word sounds when you say it. Try it now.

“BRON-tide.” Feels good, doesn’t it?

If you’ve ever experienced the brontide, let me know in the comments.

“While standing on the precipice of the cliff looking down, Harry heard the brontide. It seemed like a long, low warning not to jump.”

Arsy-Varsy – Wildest Word of the Day

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(Credit: Flickr photo by rpb1001)

Arsy-varsy – head over heels, topsy-turvy, backside forward

I shouted, “Don’t jump on the bed!” But my four-year-old didn’t listen. He jumped up and down twice and then went arsy-varsy off the bed and onto the floor.

Also used in Isaac Asimov’s The Robots of Dawn.

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arsy-varsy

Tell me about your “arsy-varsy” moments in the comments section.